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'There's no reason to fear another attack'

Rebecca Martin · 9 Dec 2011, 17:50

Published: 09 Dec 2011 17:50 GMT+01:00

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December 11th, 2010 started off as rather standard weekend for many Stockholm residents.

The city's streets were bustling with shoppers out scooping up gifts and enjoying the brisk winter weather.

But shortly before 5pm on that Saturday, two blasts rattled Stockholm's main shopping district on Drottninggatan.

The attack, perpetrated by Taimour Abdulwahab, an Iraqi-born Swede who was the only fatality caused by the twin blasts, may not have resulted in widespread casualties or physical damage.

But it forced many Swedes to face the realization that they were no longer safe from a brand of terror many thought would never disrupt their way of life in Sweden.

”I think prior to last year, Swedes often felt that they were living in their own little corner and that the rest of the world was a stormy place. The general view up until a year ago was probably that terrorism is something that happened to other people, somewhere else,” terror expert Magnus Ranstorp, tells The Local.

Ranstorp, from the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan), believes the incident changed the way that Swedes perceived themselves by showing that the country was not immune to what was happening in the world.

The incident therefore came as a rude awakening for many Swedes, when they heard the seemingly unthinkable news that a suicide bomber had blown himself up in central Stockholm.

However, the fact that Abdulwahab failed to cause the widespread devastation likely made a huge difference in Swedes' reactions to the bombing, according to Ranstorp.

”And in a worst case scenario this would have had ripple effects throughout Swedish society, triggering a polarization of the community or worse,” he explains, reflecting on what might had happened had Abdulwahab's explosive devices detonated as planned.

Although information about the ongoing investigation would trickle out from time to time, the Swedish security service, Säpo, has been very quiet about the its findings up until last week.

Despite witness reports of an unidentified individual having taken pictures of Abdulwahab as he lay dying on a Stockholm sidewalk, Säpo remains of the opinion that there is nothing to indicate that Abdulwahab had any accomplices present at the site of the attack.

“Nothing points to anything else. We are still working on the question of whether or not he received financial or economic support,” said Säpo head Anders Danielsson said at the press conference.

Danielsson also said that there is no solid evidence indicating that Abdulwahab was a member of al-Qaeda.

But a Scottish probe into an alleged accomplice, Nasserdine Menni, whom Abdulwahab tried to call prior to the incident, indicates that some terror network may have been behind the attack.

According to Ranstorp, Säpo is playing down the possibility that Abdulwahab was not acting alone.

“It is a little bit like the case of Breivik, when the court says that he is not sane, that what happened is an unusual occurrence, the threat level seems lower,” Ranstorp says.

He also argued that the explosive device was too sophisticated for Abdulwahab not to have received training from somewhere.

“Säpo's phrasing when talking about the incident indicates that it was a one-off, which is strange considering the many things pointing to this not being the case,” Ranstorp explains.

Although it was in the midst of the busy Christmas trade on the central Stockholm shopping street of Drottninggatan where Abdulawahab staged his attack, neither police nor shops are upping their security for this year's holiday shopping rush.

“We are in close contact with police who judge the threat to be at a normal level. As far as we can see the threat has not been elevated. We have no reason to ask our members to increase their security because of that,” says Per Geijer, head of security at the Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel), an organization representing the retail and wholesale trade in Sweden.

And shoppers making their way through central parts of town don't seem overly concerned about their safety either.

Neither do they feel as if their life has changed much in the wake of last year's attempted suicide bombing.

“You can't walk around worrying about things that might happen, then you would wear a helmet all the time. If the threat level was different then maybe we'd notice it more,” said shopper Robin Tårda to The Local.

Story continues below…

According to another shopper, Britt Tryding, the suicide attempt of 2010 seems like an isolated incident, unlikely to be repeated.

“It was unfortunate for the man in question, but it feels like it wasn't really meant to be. Either he was clumsy, or something went wrong,“ she said

Tryding believes that Swedish society has changed since the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks in the United States, but not due to Abdulwahab's attack in Stockholm.

“We're not very affected here. We need to cherish our free society in Sweden, that's the most important,” she says.

According to Ranstorp, authorities still need to work pro-actively to ensure that, if another attack occurred, it wouldn't cause violent reactions or a polarization of Swedish society.

However, he also thinks it's a healthy sign that Swedes are not more concerned than they are.

“It is counterproductive to think or talk about this all the time. If nothing more happens for a long while, then that is certainly a good thing. The sense of security can be very brittle, but there is nothing gained by worrying about it,” he says.

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Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:39 December 9, 2011 by calebian22
Yes, perfectly safe. Fika anyone?
19:18 December 9, 2011 by godnatt
Nothing to worry about. Islam means peace.

Just look at how peaceful and civilized their own countries are.
19:25 December 9, 2011 by jomamas
Well the gov just announced huge spending on 'extremism'.

Too bad 100% of this money will be spent against Swedes who are against multiculturalism.
19:31 December 9, 2011 by Nemesis
An isolated incident.

If Scottish police are worried there is a connection to a grojup, then that should be taken seriously, not ignored.
19:51 December 9, 2011 by PaulTheOctopus
Dark days are comings for Europe
20:08 December 9, 2011 by Kublai
So, according to media are every Swedendemocrat a potential massmurderer like Breivik but we have nothing to fear from Muslim terrorists like Abduwahab because he was a "one-off".

I also read in the news that Swedish authorities will spend 62 million kronor to fight violent extremists (i.e. Swedendemocrats and others who oppose multiculturalism)

And last but not least - Sweden will donate 4,5 BILLION kronor to the Muslim Brotherhood.

'I regeringens biståndsbudget för 2012 satsar vi ca 4,5 miljarder kr på insatser för att stärka demokrati och respekten för de mänskliga rättigheterna. I budgeten återfinns bl a stöd till utsatta civilsamhällesorganisationer och till demokratirörelser i Mellanöstern och Nordafrika'
20:10 December 9, 2011 by BritVik
@'There's no reason to fear another attack'

Well, there was no reason to fear this one either.

But it happened.
21:24 December 9, 2011 by Svensksmith
There's no reason to fear another attack if the next guy is as much of a bumbler as the first guy.
21:40 December 9, 2011 by blursd

"Well, NOW there's no reason to fear another attack ..."


"Are you friggen kidding me ...!!!"
00:48 December 10, 2011 by Sajmo
What is the difference between BOOM in Sweden and BOOM in Middle Est???

BOOM in Sweden -- > No fear for another attack!!

Boom in Middle Est -- > 500.000 emigrants coming to Sweden next day

Hahahahaha.... :( its funny but strange how all those Arab people that are used to live in the sun and hot places come and live in snow and cold places like Scandinavian countries, its normal that they will bring all the problems in Sweden too.

The invasion has stared time ago, no turn back people!!!
02:04 December 10, 2011 by imascatman
@ "Nothing to worry about. Islam means peace. Just look at how peaceful and civilized their own countries are."

Yeah I'm sure the US presence in the Middle East or Israel had nothing to do with that.
02:19 December 10, 2011 by ajs42548
@imascatman.. So You're saying that Israel was at fault for the recent Sunni bombing of Shiites in Afghanistan? And they were responsible for teh London bombing? and the Madrid bus bombing? How about the thousands of terrorist acts committed by Muslim BEFORE 1967? What about the 1400 years of Muslim killing Muslim before Israel existed? Muslims have killed more than twice as many Muslims than all of the western powers combined since just 1948.
02:40 December 10, 2011 by Svensksmith
I get a little tired of people blaming others for their own bad behavior. Oooh it's my mother's fault that she didn't breast feed me when I was a baby, that's why I beat my wife. Oooh, it's America's fault that's why I bomb innocent people.

Take responsibilty for your own actions.
04:05 December 10, 2011 by Bolante007
When will people realize religion is a joke and it causes most of the problems in the world! Christianity no is not peace, Islam is not peace don't preach me that joke cos if a muslim kid gives up his faith he is stone to death, yes makes perfect sense to me to kill someone who has different views. Mormons treat women like whores the list goes on ladies and gents, fairy tales and other stories written thousands of years ago are just how to live your life, we're not in those times we're a much modern society, we have out issues but we are people not animals. Stop following a cult and start believing in your self and start living your life.
07:42 December 10, 2011 by imascatman
@ ajs42548

If an invading military comes to my home and kills, rapes, tortures, and bombs and colonize us, and then deny my country its right to exist and my people a right to a livelihood, then yeah I'm going to launch rockets, plant IEDs and find other ways to kill American and Israeli soldiers left and right. Otherwise we would end up suffering the fate of Native Americans and Australians.
09:55 December 10, 2011 by Just_Kidding
From the article: "Swedish society is not polarized"

I disagree.

Iranian Atheist
14:48 December 10, 2011 by gh2008

and humanity is getting really sick and tired of your f***** up government who do nothing but creating more and more wars wherever they go.. and we also are getting tired of you doing nothing but blaming the whole world and keep voting in the same su***rs.
17:46 December 10, 2011 by jvtx3232
"There's no reason to fear another attack"

If the government keeps important thousands of Muslim refugees there is.

No wait, let me correct that: there is no reason to fear ANOTHER attack (singular), there is in fact reason to fear MANY other attacks!
18:35 December 10, 2011 by Greekfan
That headline looks like famous last words to me.
18:50 December 10, 2011 by jvtx3232
*Oops I meant "importing" not "important" lol.
20:22 December 10, 2011 by swedejane

You mean the middle east would start a profitable casino industry and foist horrible Paul Hogan movies upon the world? Hmm...well, it would be an improvement. No?
20:44 December 10, 2011 by godnatt

Yes, it's America's fault that Muslims oppress women, gays, and non-Muslims, have committed mass Muslim-on-Muslim sectarian violence for centuries and predominantly approve of Sharia law in poll after poll.

Brilliant analysis, dummy.
21:07 December 10, 2011 by imascatman
@ godnatt

So I guess America is in the Middle East and all over the world to "liberate" the "oppressed women, gays, non-Muslims".

I don't care how they treat women or gays or dogs or chairs in their own country.

I'm not even Muslim or Middle Eastern and I don't care for them or their culture. But I don't want Americans or anyone else going into my part of the world and telling my country how it should run, and change my government with their military or CIA if we don't serve American interests and let Americans set up 10 military bases in our land.
22:13 December 10, 2011 by godnatt

I'm not defending American foreign policy/interventionism/Bush doctrine stupidity.

I'm saying that making buck passing, simplistic excuses for the long standing sociopathic and violent behavior of of Muslims based on recent events is ridiculous.

If you care about the root causes look at what they ACTUALLY believe and what they actually teach. That's been around a lot longer than the Bush doctrine along with the violence and oppression in that part of the world.

I personally don't worry about what they do at home either. Problem is when they come HERE in droves they bring their beliefs with them along with the violence, superstition, crime, low productivity, anti-intellectualism and general madness.
23:29 December 10, 2011 by Svensksmith
And I am not supporting US foreign policy either. The world would be in a much better place if we invested in renewable and sustainable energy rather than wars for oil. Still, there is no justification for terrorism. Anyone who believes otherwise is a supporter.
02:05 December 11, 2011 by Grokh
sweden doesnt need terrorists blowing themselves up, there are entire generations of kids who grow up in sweden but have never integrated, they are the ones to be worried about.
16:27 December 12, 2011 by Svenny Brogarth
my kid asked me why all of the people on the tv were lying on the floor covered in red, i said they were looking for God but found religion instead.
20:55 December 12, 2011 by Bolante007
Religion is a cancer, save your self Sweden, don't let any religion fool you! otherwise you're in a HUGE problem!! licka till!
00:05 December 17, 2011 by Value
@Bolante Atheism is the real cancer. All forms of atheism, such as communism and nazism, killed lots more people than anything else. Atheism is the biggest lie ever and only morons can believe atheistic lies.
01:08 December 18, 2011 by Incognito007
There's lots of fuss about religious extremism, but the greatest threat to Europe is racism. A stupid suicider who just killed himself is no match to racists like Breivik or Malmo sniper who killed almost hundred of children and innocent people.

Sweden troops should not take part in American war for natural resources, which they call "War on terror" and withdraw it's troops from the Middle East. It'll will safe Sweden lots of money, lives of Swedish soldiers and lives of innocent local civilian people and ensure that religious extremist have no basis to propagate violence against the country.

9/11 is a greatest lie of the century! Even a simple research in youtube will prove that it was an inside job to justify US invasion to Middle East to gain control over petroleum resources...
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